Family Of Teen Killed In Windsor Locks Crash Settles Suits For $420,000

Windsor (Hartford, Connecticut)Windsor LocksSuffieldJustice SystemBars and ClubsDining and Drinking

The family of the teenager killed last October when he was struck by a car driven by off-duty Windsor Locks police officer Michael Koistinen has settled lawsuits against Koistinen and the bar where he was drinking moments before the crash for $420,000.

The family of Henry Dang, 15, agreed to accept $250,000 to settle the lawsuit against Koistinen and his parents, Windsor Locks Sgt. Robert Koistinen and Kimberly Koistinen, who owned the car Michael Koistinen was driving when it struck Dang around midnight on Oct. 30 as the teenager was riding his bicycle home.

The family also received $170,000 to settle their lawsuit against Jack Bucior, the owner of the since-closed Suffield Tavern, where Michael Koistinen was seen on videotape drinking shots of tequila and beers less than a half hour before the crash. Both payments were made by the respective insurance companies.

The two lawsuits were settled last month and the amounts paid out were sealed by the court. However, the lawsuit settlements were recorded as part of Dang's estate in Probate Court in Windsor Locks.

The family will actually get far less than $420,000, probate records show. Legal fees paid to Riscassi & Davis amounted to $84,000, plus another $12,000 in expenses. In addition the family must pay about $36,000 in estate taxes and nearly $4,500 in funeral expenses, probate records show.

The family will end up with $287,263 with Dang's mother, Lien Dang, getting 80 percent or about $258,000, and his father, San Tran, about $28,000. Probate records show that Tran agreed to accept only 20 percent of his son's estate rather than the 50 percent he was entitled to by law.

Dang's estate will be finalized Tuesday since no one has objected to the final accounting submitted by attorney James Bartolini.

Bartolini also has filed a notice of intent to sue the town of Windsor Locks. Legal experts have said since Koistinen was off duty establishing liabilty for the town will be a difficult legal hurdle.

Both Michael and Robert Koistinen were arrested by the state police, who were called into investigate a few days later by Hartford State's Attorney Gail Hardy after concerns were raised about how Windsor Locks police and a regional accident reconstruction team handled the initial on-scene investigation.

The state police investigation showed Michael Koistinen had been drinking for hours before the crash and that a witness saw him throw "an object" out of the car into her yard shortly after the accident. The woman told the first Windsor Locks officer she saw on scene, which happened to be Sgt. Robert Koistinen.

No one searched for the object for more than four hours before members of the regional accident reconstruction team found a broken beer glass from the Suffield Tavern in the yard. None of the officers from either Windsor Locks or the regional team at the scene asked Michael Koistinen to take a blood/alcohol test.

Despite not knowing whether Michael Koistinen was drunk at the time of the crash, state police eventually charged him with manslaughter. His case is pending. The accident reconstruction team determined he was driving at least 70 miles an hour at the time of the crash.

Michael Koistinen was fired by the Windsor Locks Police Commission.

Robert Koistinen was charged by state police with obstructing justice. His case also is still pending. He is currently on paid administrative leave, still earning his $73,385 salary.

Michael Koistinen has appealed his firing to the state Board of Mediation and Arbitration arguing that the police commission illegally fired him last December. He is seeking reinstatement to his job and $50,000 in back pay.


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